The Coast Guard is investigating the sinking of a fishing guide boat on Lake Texoma on Friday (June 11).
Alll four people on-board the boat were saved because of the life jackets they were wearing, according to KXII-TV, which covers southern Oklahoma and northern Texas . A passing boat picked up the guide and his passengers after they spent an hour in the water.
Here is a link to the television station’s story and video. http://www.kxii.com/home/headlines/96351774.html.
A fatality last year on Lake Texoma when a fishing boat capsized led to the passage of a state law requiring all fishing guides to be licensed through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
The agency was required to set up requirements for the license. Part of the reason for the bill was to try and head off the U.S. Coast Guard from imposing federal regulations on Texoma fishing guides, something the Coast Guard was threatening to do after the drowning. Texoma fishing guides once feared they might have to operate under the same rules as ocean going vessels.
The state fishing guide license was then created and emergency rules were passed effective Jan. 1 which required all state fishing guides to buy a $132 license and have proof of insurance, CPR certification and proof of boat safety training and inspection. But the teeth in that license will be gone effective July 31.
Fishing guides will not have any state required mandates other than what is required of any boat operater, except that they will have to buy a guide license.
All of the the original requirements in the state guide license will be dropped as of July 31. All state fishing guides still will be required to buy a license at the cost of $90, but the license simply will become a way to keep track of fishing guides in the state, said Jeff Boxrucker, assistant chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Department.
Opposition from fishing guides and the inability to carry out the original requirements of the guide license led the agency to drop them, he said.
The Oklahoma Lake Patrol doesn’t have the manpower to carry out mandatory boat safety training or inspections so that was eliminated, Boxrucker said. The Coast Guard doesn’t require liability insurance so that was removed, he said.
Lake Texoma fishing guides, however, must obtain a more stringent license from the U.S. Coast Guard in addition to the state fishing guide license.
Oklahoma fishing guides who are Coast Guard mariner credentialed get a discount on their state license. Effective July 31, those guides can buy a state fishing guide license for $20.